from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Staged fights — the sort of confrontation that the Ontario Hockey League has all but legislated out of its game this season — are back in vogue in the NHL. And not simply as a way for a pair of hard-working but marginally skilled players to justify their roster spots with a bit of the old ultra-violence. In the aftermath of the lockout, they’ve become a useful coaching strategy.
And it makes a lot of sense. With just five days of camp, there just wasn’t enough prep time for the new season. Legs are a little heavy. Hands are a little less soft. Hockey sense has been dulled by hours of watching Spongebob and Dora with the kids. Judging by the early going, it’ll take at least few games for most guys to shake off the rust and get up to NHL speed.
But there was one attribute unaffected by the lengthy layoff: the willingness to go. A handy back pocket option under normal circumstances, the nuclear response has become a valuable tool for...